What’s wrong with politics in East County: The political parties ignore bad behavior

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Guest Commentary
by Hon. Kristine Alessio

“The only infallible criterion of wisdom to vulgar minds – success.”   — Edmund Burke

When after a lifetime of membership I left the Republican party, I was accused of doing it for political gain on this site and in other media. But that was nothing more than ad hominem, which did not address the reason I left my party. It had lost its bearings, supported candidates who toyed with racists or involved themselves with young girls, and didn’t even blink at endorsing a candidate who is under investigation for fraud. Those were my reasons. I left the party and never looked back.

East County politics provides a perfect microcosm of what has gone wrong with both major parties, the support of deeply flawed, corrupted individuals, whether overtly or tacitly by doing nothing. Witness the latest East County politician to be the subject of controversy, David Arambula, the Democratic Councilman of Lemon Grove. As reported in the Union-Tribune on March 9, 2018, Arambula is accused of physically beating a constituent at a party where both the Mayor of Lemon Grove and a representative of the San Diego County Democratic Party were present; and not just allegedly beating him, but biting him, all this occurring it seems after a night of drinking that ended with the midnight brawl. The City of Lemon Grove is now subject to a lawsuit, headed by a well-known San Diego litigator, Cory Briggs.

Yet where is the San Diego County Democratic Party on this? Have they called for his resignation? No, not a word. Business as usual with Arambula, the alleged beater and biter, remaining in his council position and remaining in his Board position at the Metropolitan Transit System. Why? Where is the outrage? He is accused of beating a man.

Prior to Arambula the San Diego County Democratic Party stayed low with the outrageous conduct of El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho.  To date Kalasho: 1) Has been sued by a beauty contest contestant who claims he propositioned her and then refused to pay her the grand prize monies in his beauty contest; 2) Has filed spurious and rejected complaints against both Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Gary Kendrick with the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing; 3) Has preposterously threatened newspapers with litigation with the temerity to criticize him; and 4) Is under investigation for fraudulently transferring real property in order to hide it from prospective litigants. Yet where is the San Diego County Democratic Party? Despite this outlandish behavior from a man even his fellow Democrats call “The Donald Trump of East County,” they are hoping district elections in El Cajon will solve their problem with Kalasho.

And lest this appear a partisan diatribe, let me assure you the Republican Party of San Diego is just as guilty. Witness another East County star in the ongoing show known as “Terrible Politicians with Party Support” — Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, running for re-election in the 5oth District. Known in D.C. political circles as a “party boy” who spends his time playing video games, Hunter is under investigation for substantial campaign finance violations, using campaign funds to, among other things, treat his family to vacations, buy an airplane seat for a pet rabbit, and pay his kids’ private school tuition. Being the gentleman that he is, Hunter chooses to blame his own wife for these problems (Classy!). And how did the Republican Party of San Diego respond? – worse than nothing, they endorsed him early for re-election and continue to stand by that decision, even when given a conservative choice in Mayor Bill Wells of El Cajon.

In summary, it’s clear the two major parties would rather have anyone, biters, cheaters, or frauds in office than allow an opponent with the wrong initial behind their name to win. They blow endless smoke about their respective positions on taxes, immigration, women’s rights, and gun control, but do they have a soul, do they tell the truth, do they acknowledge basic decency? Is there anything that would make them risk a D or an R seat being lost? If East County is an example, the answer is No.

San Diego County currently has the third highest number of No Party Preference (NPP) voters in the State at 28.5 percent as of January 2018. There’s a reason for this, when a party supports and condones despicable behavior from those they endorse, the voters are not happy. Those who are candid see through their party leaders’ partisan platitudes and leave. Good for them. Their ranks are growing. NPP statewide has grown to within .4 percentage of Republican registration. Democrats as well are not immune from this trend. In the entire County, and East County is no exception, the number of NPP voters is rising with every new scandal, locally, statewide and at the Federal level.

The best place to re-establish trust between politicians, parties and voters is at the local level where people’s voices and votes count the most.  Currently, the Republican Party of San Diego and the San Diego County Democratic party have no interest in doing so. Unless they change, they may soon find themselves without members, money and voters. Maybe this is exactly what our democracy needs.

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Alessio is a Member of the La Mesa City Council.

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Comments 17

  1. Thank you Kristine. It took courage to walk away from the local party and expect more than rhetoric.

    Here is another Burke quote. Will let you complete it. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil …”

  2. Unfortunately, perhaps, democracies reflect the character of their peoples. We get the leaders and representatives we deserve.

  3. “I was accused of doing it for political gain on this site”

    FWIW, I wrote the piece and I stand by what I posited in it.

    “But that was nothing more than ad hominem, which did not address the reason I left my party”

    I believe that you don’t like Trump or Hunter. I admire your record on the La Mesa City Council but the piece I wrote wasn’t an ad hominem. It was an explanation to pretty savvy readers what your political strategy was (and is) for your Supervisor campaign.

    Now that Andersen is running for BOE, a slot for an endorsed Republican opens up and an endorsed Republican will run for (and probably win) that open seat. I might be wrong. Maybe the Republican Party is dead in East County and maybe you are not running for Supervisor

    If I’m right however, I’d welcome you back with open arms and endorse your Supervisor candidacy.

  4. What a truly eloquent essay on this topic. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are becoming obsolete, especially as they are dying the pendulum is swinging and leaning towards the extreme sides. You have the super right wing Republicans trying to gain some spot of relevance and the left wing Democrats are doing the same. That leaves the middle ground NP folks who are now asserting themselves. A Republican or Democrat cannot rely soley the party. These days they have to try to appeal to their party’s extreme constituents but appeal to those more-or-less in the middle. And then you have the party’s old birds who are really out of place who are struggling to remain relevant in 2018.

  5. I’m entering my 67th year of life and 44th year as a registered Republican. To put that in perspective, Truman was president when I was born. In the intervening time, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of both political parties and politicians. As a delegate to the Republican Convention in Cleveland, I attended a delegate meeting in LA before leaving. Jim Brulte, State Republican Chairman, said something we should all remember: “Elections are never between a perfect candidate and an imperfect candidate. They’re always between two imperfect candidates.” For me, Republican candidates aren’t perfect, but on the bedrock of conservative positions, we agree. If that makes me a demagogue in your book, so be it but I will not countenance liberals/Democrats. Oh yea, I live in East County.

  6. Contrary to her stated reason, Brian claimed that Kristine’s decision to leave the party was based on ulterior motives.
    That is an ad hominem criticism.

  7. I too have gripes with the R & D parties, but I’m more disappointed in the vast majority of the elected officials themselves. They get elected under either banner, often promising reform and then let their respective bureaucracies run amok. And that cost of bloated bureaucracy is paid for by the citizens that elected them. So rather than get caught up in labels, let’s figure out how to better serve the people, Rs, Ds and NPPs!

  8. “That is an ad hominem criticism.”

    If she were not running for Supervisor, you’d be correct. If she is not running for Supervisor, I’ll withdraw my analysis and admit that my speculation about your strategy is incorrect.

    If she is running for Supervisor, the whole “I’m independent because everyone else is corrupt” is political speech…and can (and should be) critiqued for what it is. ESPECIALLY if she is running for Supervisor.

    Moreover, it’s collectivist clap trap. Just like, “The La Mesa City Council is corrupt because of the anti-market, protectionist policies it supports”. That’s not an inaccurate statement. In fact, it’s an accurate statement for all 18 of the municipal governments in the County…and yet…

    …I can still admire politicians like Kristine for her good votes.

    I am wrong if Kristine isn’t running for Supervisor. If she is, tell her she can come home and I’ll endorse her campaign

  9. Whether she runs or not has nothing to do with your argument, which is fallacious, per se.
    (PS–I have some logic primers here at the store I’d be happy to loan you.)

  10. “Whether she runs or not has nothing to do with your argument, ”

    She’s running. Hence, the anti-partisan propaganda, now that the Republicans don’t have an announced candidate. My hat is off to you, Sir.

    It just might work

  11. Ben Kalasho is a joke! Now he’s all over Facebook slamming Mrs.Alessio for telling the truth! What part of this article is untrue Mr. Kalasho? You show your ignorance by posting a poll asking if Kristine Alessio is smoking crack or meth? What is wrong with you? Please resign from council. You are a real piece of work! I also think it’s hilarious you put on FB you have 20K followers on Instagram! You bought those followers and all the fake comments! Anyone can see how fake you are. Can’t wait til you lose your lawsuits!!

  12. Ms. Alessio, I live in East County and I find your self-serving comments reflective of your shallowness. As an attorney and an elected, you should know better. Therefore, it follows that you are either a first class nitwit or a manipulative person (using the latter term very loosely). Let’s consider a hypothetical: Someone trying to hurt you for whatever reason decides to lodge meritless complaints against you. Regardless of the allegations, should you resign? Is a party required to force you to resign, regardless of any shred of proof? Think of the consequences of that type of action or inaction. The problem is further heightened by an elected official like yourself who has an even higher standard of responsibility to the general public as an attorney. The real question is, why perpetuate the highly questionable allegations derived from a marijuana online magazine with your own subversive, devisive and irresponsible behavior? As to at least one of your many disparaging statements, are you aware that the online marijuana magazine is owned by the claimant and his wife? Are you aware that the author of the article is also an officer of the claimant’s corporation. Surely you did your due diligence before you opened your mouth, right? If you did not, then how can anyone trust your judgment? I mean seriously? That aside, clearly you have an end game. I have many, many family members in East County and I am making them aware of your despicable and irresponsible behavior. We don’t live in La Mesa, but we all live in District 2 of the County Supervisor District. You will soon learn that we are not all hillbillies. Many of us vote and you’ve prompted our attention with your hyperbole and reckless comments. Bottom line, you are not a leader; you are a charlatan.

  13. Mr. Ibar,

    For the record, The Candid Chronicle, is a print and online newspaper not a magazine. FYI, The Reader broke the Arambula story; then the Union-Tribune followed up two days later. Some may find it in their comfort zone to minimize the publication because of its focus on the cannabis movement. This would be a misjudgment and underestimation of the industry and its stakeholders. The CC newspaper has been in business and reporting since 2016. Who owns the publication is inconsequential, the comment is a sly attempt to discredit the facts. To publicly stigmatize the readers of the publication as irresponsible and despicable is unfortunate and further proves why the CC newspaper is needed as a voice for the booming industry. The CC doesn’t make the news they report it.

  14. Well at least no one was escorted home by the police after being found barfing in the gutter next to a car with a passed out City employee behind the wheel ……without consequence.

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